Lambert Jacobsz
The visitation, n.d.
Oil on canvas, 85 x 104.5 cm
Inventory number: 0242NMK
Private donation, 2019


The artwork shows a rarely depicted motif in painting; two important women in the Christian narrative: The Virgin Mary visiting her older cousin, Elizabeth. Both women are pregnant — Mary with Jesus and Elizabeth with John the Baptist. The picture is a splendid example of the realism of Dutch art in the 1600s and leaves the viewer in no doubt that the Madonna with healthy, red cheeks is a worldly woman of flesh and blood.

Mary visiting Elizabeth is described in the Gospel of Lucas, where it is said that Mary, after saying yes to God and agreeing to become the mother of Jesus, goes to her cousin Elizabeth, who is also expecting a child. When the two women meet, Elizabeth exclaims the words of the Holy Spirit: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!". Mary stays with Elizabeth and helps her until she gives birth to John the Baptist. In memory of Mary's visit to Elisabeth, the 2nd of July in 1389 is a public holiday - the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary - which is still celebrated in the Catholic Church. In Denmark, the day ceased to be a public holiday in 1770.

Lambert Jacobsz (1598 – 1636)
Lambert Jacobsz is a Dutch Golden Age painter, who was almost unknown until 1918. In the 20th and 21st centuries, several of his paintings have appeared, and today 26 of his artworks are known. In addition to being a painter, Lambert Jacobsz was also a preacher and active in his local Mennonite community. He was born in Amsterdam and died at the age of 38 in Leeuwarden during a plague epidemic. Several of his works are still located in buildings in Leeuwarden, for which they were painted. Other of his artworks are displayed at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, and many portraits of saints at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen, France.

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